Helping My General Contractor Plan a Credit Card Strategy for His Small Business

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Helping My General Contractor Plan a Credit Card Strategy for His Small Business

Million Mile SecretsHelping My General Contractor Plan a Credit Card Strategy for His Small BusinessMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Welcome to the next installment of the Monday small business series!

Here’s team member Meghan to share why anyone with a small business or side hustle should never forget to ask a simple question to be sure you’re making the most of your business expenses.

Meghan:  In last week’s small business series post, I mentioned I was in the middle of a house flipping project.  I have a general contractor overseeing much of it, who has heard me rave about miles & points for a while now.  So I was excited when he asked me to help him develop a plan to earn more miles & points for his own business expenses!

Helping My General Contractor Plan A Credit Card Strategy For His Small Business
If You Run a Small Business, Make Sure You’re Using the Right Card so You Don’t Miss Out on Valuable Travel Rewards!

He explained that most months, he charges thousands of dollars to his Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.  But knew there were other ways for him to earn even more travel rewards.

So we sat down to strategize!

Finding the Right Cards for Your Businesses

Link:   Top Small Business Credit Cards

Link:   How to Qualify for a Small Business Credit Card (And Why You Should Get One!)

My general contractor (let’s just call him Bob), regularly charges thousands of dollars to his AMEX Business Gold Rewards card each month.  Mostly from having to pay for project materials.  It’s the only credit card he has!

When he first asked me to help him figure out a credit card strategy, he mentioned he’d always used the AMEX Membership Rewards points he’d earn for gift cards…hence why I’m keeping his identity a secret.  That’s just heresy!  😉

So I started by explaining all of the other (better!) ways he could be using his AMEX Membership Rewards points.  For example, by using them for free flights within the US and to Europe, for free hotel stays, and more.

Then we got down to the business of planning which other credit cards he should consider, and why.

Helping My General Contractor Plan A Credit Card Strategy For His Small Business
One of Bob’s Top Goals Is to Take His Girlfriend to Hawaii!

He expressed his concerns about getting into the miles & points hobby, many of which were the same common misconceptions lots of folks have.  Like keeping a good credit score, the difficulty of managing multiple cards (tracking sign-up bonuses, annual fee dates, etc.), and being able to easily track business expenses.

But I’m pretty sure I convinced him that getting at least 1 more card would be a great idea, because he could use the travel rewards or cash back to take his girlfriend on nearly free trip to Hawaii. 😉

The Cards I Recommended And Why

I recommended Bob get the following cards:

1.   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Getting the Ink Business Preferred is a no-brainer for Bob.

It comes with an 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements.  It’s the biggest sign-up bonus of any Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card at the moment!

He loved learning about the flexibility of Chase Ultimate Rewards, and how many options he’d have to transfer the points he earns to valuable travel partners.  And, of course, how he could plan that trip to Hawaii using his points!

Helping My General Contractor Plan A Credit Card Strategy For His Small Business
The Ink Business Preferred 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Point Sign-Up Bonus Is Enough for 3 Free Nights at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort! Or Transfer Points to Other Fantastic Chase Travel Partners for Big Travel!

Plus, I explained how the sign-up bonus alone is worth at least $800.  So even if he never decided to travel, he could get cash back.

You can read our full review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred card here.

Note:   If you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards) in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for most Chase cards.

2.   SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

I also recommended the AMEX Simply Cash Plus small business card, because Bob mentioned he needed a large credit limit and the ability to pay big bills (like $10,000+). And it offers to ability to “buy above your credit limit.”  Meaning he’d be able to spend above his credit limit without any over-the-limit fees.  Which could be helpful for growing his business!

Helping My General Contractor Plan A Credit Card Strategy For His Small Business
Having the Option to Spend Above Your Credit Limit Is Great When You’re Growing Your Business!

Plus, AMEX small business cards to NOT count against Chase’s 5/24 rule.  So Bob will have a better chance of getting other great Chase travel rewards cards in the future.

Check out our review of the AMEX Simply Cash Plus card here.

3.   AMEX Business Platinum

Lastly, I mentioned the AMEX Business Platinum card, because you can earn:

That’s a total of up to 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points!  And the card includes lots of valuable perks, like lounge access, an annual airline incidental fee credit, and more!

Helping My General Contractor Plan A Credit Card Strategy For His Small Business
Bob Could Transfer the AMEX Membership Rewards Points He Earns to Partners Like Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, or Singapore Airlines for Free Tickets to the Aloha State

Here’s our full review of the card.  And tips for using AMEX Membership Rewards points for flights to Hawaii.

He still isn’t sure the high annual fee ($450; See Rates & Fees) on the AMEX Business Platinum card would be worth it for his particular situation.  But he plans to regularly update his credit card strategy to make sure the cards he’s using still make sense.  And might consider it when he’s more comfortable managing multiple cards!

Bottom Line

The general contractor I’m currently working with asked me for advice on which cards he should get for his own small business.  Because he wants to get more involved in the miles & points hobby, and take his girlfriend to Hawaii!

After considering his concerns and personal travel goals, I recommended the Chase Ink Business Preferred, the AMEX Simply Cash Plus Business card, and the AMEX Business Platinum card to my general contractor.  Because with these 3 cards, he’ll be able to make the most of his business expenses by earning points, miles, and cash back.

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, click here.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 36,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I was disappointed by this article for a lot of the same reasons as George. I fully expected you to go through what a general contractor’s biggest expenses might be, and why a particular card might be a good fit for them. Is the Ink Business Preferred even a good card for a contractor? How much do they spend on travel and advertising costs? It sounds like a great card for online businesses, but a much worse proposition for a general contractor.

I was also greatly disappointed that you didn’t mention the Blue Business Plus, which seems like a no-brainer given its 2x transferable points on everything up to $50k and no annual fee; it seems like it’d be an even better card given that he already has a MR stash.

Agreed! I should have clarified that he was looking for a few cards with big sign-up bonuses to use for a vacation in the near future. And the AMEX Blue Business Plus isn’t offering a sign-up bonus right now.

Plus, with the AMEX Blue Business Plus, he’d have to spend $50k to earn the 100k AMEX Membership Rewards points. But he’d only need to spend $20k to earn the 75k Membership Rewards points with the Business Platinum card.

There are certainly pros and cons to each approach!

I get how all of your site’s articles need to meet a certain visual aesthetic (lots of links), but this article is basically terrible. It is a very good premise, which makes the article all the more disappointing. I read the article and instantly thought of multiple ways it could be better without even having the details of the general contractor (GC).

First, once you introduce the readers to the fact the GC is using a AMEX Biz Gold Rewards, you should briefly mention the 3x MR points categories and ways he is/isn’t taking advantage of those perks. I think you should expand the explanation on the loss of value of using MR points for gift cards versus other possibilities. The explanation of categories also allows you to introduce the reader to the GC’s spending habits, for example: mostly non-bonus category spend, but a bunch of very large ($5,000+ charges) plus a rough estimate of monthly charges.

I have issues based on how you ordered the cards, but that’s minor and probably mostly driven by your link/ad revenue model. Card #1: If you explained to him that 80,000 UR points are “worth at least $800,” you’re woefully underestimating their value and don’t have a basic understanding of the terms of UR points from the Ink Preferred (1.25 cents in UR travel portal, i.e. 80,000 pts = $1,000). This is where it would be useful to remind readers of the GC’s spending habits and why the category bonuses would be beneficial and not just the initial sign-up bonus (but maybe it really is just the sign-up bonus, idk).
#2: This is where you’re strongest. GC’s have it tough balancing the books every month (let alone every year) and having the ability to exceed your card’s credit limit might be a very valuable proposition for this GC (as long as he doesn’t allow interest payments to fester). First, this advice is useful and correct information and second, it’s specific to the audience (in this case the GC), not just “These are the same small business credit cards that I recommend to everyone regardless of their situation.”
#3: Again, weak. You say the GC isn’t comfortable with a $450 annual fee, but you haven’t even tried selling him on it (at least through the article). You’ve simply created another entry for referral links. If, for example, you had earlier mentioned a rough estimate of his monthly spend, you could refer back and say he would be easily able to meet the initial minimum requirement with minor tweaks to his spending habits, which makes the 75,000 MR points worth it (at least for the first year). Additionally, if you’ve already established that he uses the card for large purchases, this is a great time to remind readers that $5,000+ purchases with AMEX platinum get 1.5x points, further enhancing its value to this specific GC.

#4 WEAK, because there is no #4 and you fail to mention possibly the best small business credit card out there for the first $50,000 of non-bonus category spend, AMEX Blue Business Plus. It has no annual fee and 2x on all spend up to $50,000. So, again, if you had earlier established rough spending pattern estimates, you could explain to your readers how beneficial this card is, especially since you say that the GC is wary of high annual fees. (again, no referral links means no recommendation I guess… so much for unbiased advice)

Another minor note, you could also at least raise the possibility to the readers that the GC could upgrade or downgrade his Gold Rewards card in order to not lose that credit history, but also not pay $175 per year for a card he puts little spend on because of the new card(s) in his wallet.

Look, I’m just an avid travel and points blog reader, who was extremely disappointed in the content of this article. I think the premise was good and also related to me personally, but after reading, I decided to take twenty minutes to write this comment because that’s how disappointed I was in this article.

Thanks for your feedback! Like I mentioned to Scott above, my GC was most interested in earning a few big sign-up bonuses for his upcoming spend. And I should have clarified that.

I definitely explained to him the enormous value he could get from Chase Ultimate Rewards points when transferring them to travel partners. As opposed to just cashing them out.

And I agree, the AMEX Blue Business Plus is a great card (I have it and love it!). And we do actually earn a commission on it. But it isn’t offering a sign-up bonus at this time. Plus, it requires more spend to earn the 75k AMEX Membership Rewards points the AMEX Business Platinum offers. And it doesn’t come with any of the fancy perks. 😉

You’re absolutely right though, there are LOTS of factors to consider when deciding which card is best for your particular situation.